Mine or Not to Mine (800 words)
A town hall meeting in Dover Vale. The good citizens have just heard the mining
proposal put by Roger Summersville of KBL Mining to mine for lithium on the
outskirts of the town. Mayor Ron Jacobs now asks for questions.
JACOBS: Please keep your questions brief so that we can get through as many as possible.
Mary McKenzie stands.
JACOBS: Yes, Mary.
MARY: I’m Mary McKenzie and my family have been farming in Dover Vale since God knows when. Now, this proposal will see about half of my farm disappear, taken up by this bloody mine.
JACOBS: You will be compensated, Mary.
MARY: I don’t want compensation, I want my farm. Things like that don’t have a price. And for what? So that you can make batteries for phones and electric cars!
John Edwards stands.
JOHN: She’s right. My farm is going to be ruined as well. This is a community and this mine proposal will ruin everything. How the hell are we going to make a living if half our farm is dug up?
JACOBS: Look, Mr Summerville has told you that compensation will be forthcoming.
JOHN: Forthcoming my arse. Like Mary says, we don’t want compensation; we want to be left alone.
Heather Miller raises her hand.
JACOBS: Yes, Heather.
Mary and John sit. Heather stands.
HEATHER: Look, the mine will be good for Dover Vale. The influx of business will do wonders for the town. Mr Summerville has said that the mine will employ about 200 people and some will be from around here.
JOHN: Pigs arse!
HEATHER: This is just what we have been crying out for. Investment in the town.
MARY: (standing) Yeah, but it’s not you losing a big chunk of your livelihood is it?
JOHN: (standing) It’s all right for you Heather, you own a several men’s wear shops. Blokes will be buying clothing from you. You’ll be making a mint at our expense.
MARY: Too bloody right. Miss Smarty Pants.
JACOBS: Mary, John, do you mind keeping it civil.
MARY: How can we keep it civil? We are talking about our livelihood here.
JACOB: Look, its progress. Things can’t always stay the same.
MARY: Hark at him. Last year you were against a zebra crossing being made near the primary school because, and I quote… “there has never been a zebra crossing in Dover Vale before and, while I’m the mayor, there never will.” That’s Mr Progress speaking.
JACOBS: You’ve had your say, now sit down.
MARY: I’m not voting for you again!
Janice raises her hand.
JACOBS: Yes, Janice.
Janice stands. The others sit.
JANICE: I’m all for progress and the mine might be a good asset but I worry about the influx of men. I’m the mother of three teenage daughters and I’m feeling a bit nervous about the town being swamped by lots of single male mine workers.
MARY: (standing) Too right. I’d be nervous too. Young blokes getting drunk after work.
JACOBS: Look, I’m sure you are getting a little carried away with…
JOHN: (standing) Carried away? Who owns the two pubs around here, Jacobs? You! You’ll be another one making a quid while we farmers cop it sweet.
MARY: He’ll be making a quid while a mob of drunken, sex mad, young blokes roam the town after dark. Janice is right to be nervous.
JACOBS: Look, things are getting out of all proportion.
MARY: Anyone of them could be a serial killer!
JOHN: She’s right. We won’t know these blokes.
JACOBS: Look, for heaven’s sake, none of them will be serial killers.
MARY: How do you know, Sherlock?
On the stage Mr Summerville is on his phone.
HEATHER: (standing) We do have a police force in town you know.
MARY: Oh, yeah, Dozy Dave and his sidekick Grade Two Gary. Two right pillocks.
JANICE: I’m going to have to lock my daughters in at night.
JOHN: And my farm will be useless once they requestion my land.
MARY: Mine too. We’ve hit rock bottom!
Jacobs and Mr Summerville confer.
JACOBS: Look, Mr Summerville would like to make an announcement.
SUMMERVILLE: (standing) In light of what I have heard tonight I have decided that KBL Mining will not be mining at Dover Vale. We have another large deposit in mind with less hassle than this one. As for the mine, the work force would be automated and run by women. So, there will be no influx of sex starved, drunken men. Finally, KBL was prepared to pay twenty million dollars in compensation to farms affected by the mine.
HEATHER: He can stuff his mine.
JACOBS: Up his backside.
JANICE: Women workforce? My daughters would probably get a highly paid job?
MARY and JOHN: Twenty million!!! Hey, Summerville, come back!